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tonight on "worldfocus" -- deadly violence in kabul just days before afghanistan's national election. in one city, the taliban so great, this reporter cannot leave her car. >> the taliban are active in this area. >> we'll have reports from around the country night. from africa, two very bright ideas, a cell phone charged by solar power and a bottle that purifies drinking water also run by the sun. and we'll take you to amman, jordan, where the southwest swine flu is changing smoking habits after sharing thehoocu for centuries. from the world's leading reporters and analysts here is what is happening from around
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the world. this is "worldfocus." made possible by the following funders -- good evening, i'm martin savidge. as election day in afghanistan approaches, tens of thousands of american and british troops there are doing all they can to guarantee the security of millions of afghan voters. but the taliban is doing all it can to let them know they are not safe. just today with the election now two days await taliban launched a series of attacks on the capital city of kabul. a suicide car bomber attacked a naval convoy in the outskirts of the city. killing seven people, wounding
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> the center, the fewer signs of government control are found. sorry, lost modem. >> the taliban -- which is close to panjwi district and one of the many leaflets the taliban have put up warning people against voting in the election. and then distributes them in many areas in the south. and this is why the very fact that it's still on the wall,
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means the taliban is here. and we aren't even able to get out of the car to film freely. >> reporter: kandahar city, just like the rest of kandahar province, according to the government's assessment is a high-risk area. elections won't be held in two taliban-controlled districts. attacks are usual here, but not mortar strikes. mortars were fired into the heart of the city days before the vote. some people started to think twice about voting. >> translator: we won't the situation is not like this. we don't want to risk our lives and the lives our families. >> reporter: but police commanders at the scene of the attack put on a brave face. >> translator: we give 100% asurance to the people kandahar to take part in the elections, and i want people to help us prevent any incidents happening. >> reporter: never before would you see afghan police patrolling in american humvees. authorities are confident the
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taliban won't be able to stop voters from heading to polling station. >> in case something happened, those will be i.d.s. which are difficult. or some sporadic shooting from outside of the city like from the districts but also we want to minimize those when we send forces to the district as well. >> reporter: the facr naeshing districts of kandahar city have a strong taliban presence and thursday's voting day will show just how tight the noose is around this capital. ze ina kandahar. next door in helmand province offensive by american and british troops has been under way for a while. one immediate goal is to push back the taliban so that more people can vote thursday but as lindsay hill som, after decades of warfare. remains skeptical about the motives the foreign troops and fearful of their own safety. >> reporter: coming into land in what the british call a liberated area.
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seized from the taliban in operation princess lord. the british ambassador has come from the helmand province deputy governor to encourage the people to vote despite taliban threats. >> from houses an old soviet tank. testament to three decades of war between afghan tribes and factions backed by sundry foreign governments and groups. we head for the bazar. the ambassador has abandoned his flak jacket. people have just returned to the village after fleeing the fighting. they're wary. some are undoubtedly reporting back to the taliban. they tell the visitors that the british have formed their houses. don't see this as a liberation, at least not yet.
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>> it's perfectly natural that people want to see what the government can do for them. compared to what the insurgency offers. >> reporter: the elders and heads of families have been called to ashura, a community meeting. this is all about reassuring the people that the government's in charge. backed by the military muscle bristish. but the taliban are never far away. i can hear the helicopter and military helicopter overhead all the time. because the british military know that the taliban know exactly where this meeting with all these important people is being held. it feels a bit like the 19th century in britain's third military advent neurafghanistan. >> my soldiers and i have been have been sent by your majesty, queen elizabeth of britain, to help you against your fight against the taliban. >> reporter: the deputy governor tells the people they should vote in this week's election and
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that the government will bring development but it doesn't seem to convince. >> translator: with the situation like thisc brought a picture of my own father i wouldn't vote for him. what's the point? i'm not going to vote. >> reporter: the deputy governor is well practiced in the ancient art of telling foreigners what you think they want to hear. >> through the meeting by speaking to the elders, we found out that the people are very interested in voting in the election. of course the taliban is a threat to the poll but we won't give them a chance to disturb it. >> reporter: under the old soviet tank, there's hate to be gathered. in afghanistan, they've seen rule byers kings and communists, warlords and. >> hadists, now it's democracy. the british say they're here for the long term but say the ambassador are often ahead in the helicopter leaving behind them a small unit and a tremendous that it will be
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different this time. lindsey hilsum, channel 4 news, helmond. heading now a little north and west to the province known as osurea ghan where australian troops arerying to ensure that voting can take place without incident. it suggests that even if this week's vote goes smoothly, likely to ensure public safety for many years to come. it c sally sara of abc of australia. >> reporter: the people of orgon province are operation for peace but threat of=รท insurgent attac is never far away. australian forces are being urged to stay in ora gon until security is stabilized. the federal government will have the final say but it will depend on how long it takes for afghan troops to stand on their own. >> it's a real difficult question. i think -- it's up to five years
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i think we meet in the first place. >> reporter: the commander of the australian task force believes it will be at least five years. >> and i think it could take longer. but clearly, i just couldn't put a time frame on it. yeah, in a nutshell it's going to be the long hall radio and in the short term coalition and afghan force trying to provide security for this week's presidential election. there's been a spike in attacks and there are fears that the taliban will do all they can to scare rotors away from the polls. >> by using indirect fire, by using ieds and also probably by suicide attacks. >> reporter: despite the risk, people turned out. there was a has been security presence for the australian-fundedproject. local community leaders say security and development have improvedp but ora gon still has a long way to go.
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it's estimated that 95% of the people in this province can't read or write. in week's presidential election will be an important test of public confidence as insurgents try to derail stability and democracy. sally sara, abc news, ter ron cot. a deeper sense of how afghans his thursday's election can be found in today's "the new york times." the editors of "the new york times" op-ed page asked several afghans to write about the mood in their communities. a business woman from kabul reflect, on the skepticism of afghan's elite. most educated afghans will not vote because they believe there is no candidate worth voting for. the candidates say they will fix roads or create jobs but how? talk is cheap. another, a former aide worker writes about pessimism in his hometown. "demoralization and despair has reached such a level in kandaha
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tell me they will not participate in thursday's presial election. one reason, he writes, is because people are disbelieving that hamid karzai's corrupt cabinet will allow not win. not all were downbeat though. a businessman from pan. >> valley north of kabul says he's found no one who said that the elections had no value to them. i feel that the real means of democracy are slowly taking route in our country, and that we may be able to achieve a more peaceful and better afghanistan. joining us now for some more perspective on all of the developments in afghanistan as this election approaches is mberly marten, a professor of political science at barnard college columbia university here in new york. welcome back. >> thank you, martin. it's good to be back. >> so let's talk seriously regarding this'yjez cabut today. is it a sign of what's going to happen on thursday, and is it an
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indication of the taliban are going to be able to disrupt this election? >> well, i think this was predicted and the important thing to keep in mind is that the campaigns have generated so much excitement and there are people who have been willing already to risk their lives and go out and prevent an alternative to the two other alternatives that are out there. you have karzai and his war lor. you have the taliban on th other. if that sense of excitement can continue over the next two days then even if there are some people in some warts parts of the country who cannot vote successfully the vote will make a difference. >> do you suppose people who were prevented from voting will be resented by the taliban force. >> i thin there will be a contakent affect. the entire country has radio country the entire country most of it has cell phone coverage at least during daylight hours and that means people know what's happening elsewhere in the country and when they see that are people are getting excited about these alternatives and they can vote, they will say,
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why not me? >> why are people excited? and the reason i ask that is you know you've got a tremendous amount of violence that's taking place. you the taliban that is resurging. you have no economy really at all. i mean, what i'm saying is there's a litany of reasons not to be enthused about what's going on. >> i think you are right. afghanistan may be a chaotic situation for essentially 30 years now but the one sign of hope is is of these candidates like abdullah abdullah are gaining popularity and to come out and challenge the status quo. >> the former foreign minister we should point out. >> yeah, exactly. exactly. he probably cannot win the campaign but he can give karzai a run for his money and he is saying look we've got to change nin things. we have to focus on economic development and focus on developing a afghan national army that has quality. he is saying we don't want to rely on these war loads, rely on local militias to provide security in how would you say the u.s. strategy is either working or not working to the
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buildup to this election? >> some things are going very well. it's a real positive sign that now the united states is pursuing a good counterinsurgency strategy where they say is the one goal to provide security for the population and to allow economic development to happen by providing that security. some things are not so good. >> such as? >> there's not enough resource, there's not enou not enough money. and that means that some things are done on the cheap and the most important one, the dangerous thing is that the united states and its allies are now paying local militias to provide security for villages. >> but this was a strategy that seemed to work well in iraq. >> iraq, the question is still open, but in iraq, one major difference is that in fact, the shaikhs approached the united states. it wasn't that the united states said, hey, everybody who wants to be paid, we're look for people to help us. instead it was a move that rose up organically in the sunni areas and they said, we want u.s. help. will you help us? but biggest danger here and it's still an open question in iraq as well, is that if you don't have a strong national army
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that's not the set by militia kinds of identifications you may never have real security in the country that allows economic development to go forward. so i'm doubtful about the long-term consequences for the policy in iraq as well. it's not been in place for more than a year or two in iraq yet. >> kimberly marten, a lot of ground to cover. thank you very much for joining us and helping us. >> thank you, martin, my pleasure. one other note about the election. we wanted to direct you to our website,, where you can read the account of the u.s. marine who's helping train the afghan national army. there are of course still more than twice as many american troops in iraq than afghanistan. 132,000 in iraq, 62,000 in afghanistan. but yesterday at least according to the "washington post" the maliki government, if approved would require u.s. forces in troouk withdraw the start of 2011. they are currently not scheduled to pull out until the end of that year. "the post" says the prime minister appeared to disregard
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the wishes of the obama administration. in a gesture to the iraqi government, meanwhile, the u.s. military may free members of a radical shiite militia believed responsible for the ambush and murder of five american soldiers in 2007. the account from "the new york times" says the policy would have once been unthinkable but now underscores how much american interests are taking a backseat to iraqi ones. in washington today encouraging notes were sounded about it prospects for peace in the middle east. this following a meeting between president obama and egyptian president hosni mubarak. but mubarak said progress will only occur if the rift between rival palestinian groups is healed. >> we are trying to solve the problem between hamas and the authorities in the west bank because this is quite an important. we should fill the gap here. we should bridge the gap because unless we reconcile their
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differences, there will not be stability there, there will not be stability even in israel. violence will reoccur. we are doing our best to bring about stability. there was another meing of note today in socia, on russia's black sea. russian president dimitri med med got together with shiron peres. their topic middle east program and the peace process. back in israel there were reports that israel has vowed from pressure from russia and has halted housing in the west bank. the israeli government has issued no construction permits there for months. staying in the game in this global economy means keeping up with technology, but in parts of the world where resources can be in short supply, it's often a
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surprisingly low-tech solution that carries the day. case in point, kenya, africa's first cell phone's powered only by the sun recently went on sell there. the phones which sell for $40 are expected to be very popular in the country's remote rural areas where electricity is often in short supply. and in those rural areas kenyans also face another shortage one that affects 2 billion people world wide. a lack of clean drinking water. but as we hear now in this report from deutsche welle, the combination of -- and plastic bottles turns out to be an astoirning effective tool. one that scientists cannot quite explain but that offers a simple solution. >> reporter: this is in southern kenya. every morning these girls walk to the water hole 2 1/2 kilometers away. clean drinking water is rare in rural kenya. a lot of water's also contaminated, full of insect
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larvae, bacteria and viruses. 2.2 million people die every year across the world from diarrh diarrhea. these plastic bottles are life insurance for the families here. the women fill the transparent bottles and place them on the their huts. solar water disinfection. bottles must be exposed to sunlight for at least four hours. >> translator: we've been using these solar bottles for 11 years. the technology destroys the ger germs. that's how we don't have to boil the water. the water from soil disinfection tastes better. we don't like the boiled water. >> reporter: water treated this way is no long air health risk.
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there's a simple proof of the solar water disinfection. the statistics of a nearby clinic. dr. steve is the manager. >> we've had a decrease of bad cases. instead of using the bottle in the solar system of their cleawater. so according to our records, for the first lee, we got almost 20% decrease. the moment now i can say we have a 70% decrease in the cases that we have. >> reporter: illness has dropped by two-thirds and despite the fact that scientists exactly don't know how solar disinfection works. this is a swiss aquatic research. researchers here have been studying the method for years.
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first class wants to understand what's happening to the bacteria and viruses. >> translator: is such a simple method that many people find it hard to believe that it works. in the field there are a lot of problems explaining it to people. the method is so clear and simple to use that a lot of people can't believe it can't do any good. >> reporter: this test is designed to show how the pathoggens are destroyed. the researchers want to know more about the microbiological background so they can better explain the method. the equipment measures how many bacterias survive. the examination shows that the uva sunbeams and sunlight interrupt the energy supply and the transport processes in the bacterial cell, red means dead. the bacteria have been destroyed in 4 1/2 hours.
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>> translator: we've observed damage to the cell membrane which is a very important part of the cell. we've observed damage to proteins which is very important for the viability of the cells and we've seen that sunlight hit little the cells right in the center. >> reporter: photos is a simple but effective method. more than 2 million people across the world are using it to purify their drinking water. >> that report from germany's deutsche welle television. news today that general motors has found a bare for saab. the swedish car company it purchased in 1989 that has been trying to sell since february. only 45 employees and only makes 18 cars a year. of course each one of them is priced as close to $1.5 million. the deal is set to close by the end of the year. and then another economic story worth watching. a new report by the u.s.
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treasury department says that in june, china cut back its holdings of u.s. securities by more than 3%. the largest reduction in nearly nine years. experts say the chinese sell of close to $25 billion u.s. securities is worried. will increase inflation and reduce the value of the dollar. china holds more u.s. government than quarter country around the world. we want to close tonight with a couple of health stories from around the world that we expect aren't getting a lot of coverage elsewhere. they provide a glimpse of how efforts to curtail smoking are taking hold. but only sometimes after fierce resistance. first in turkey where close to 1,000 people protested about a
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ban in bars and truants. claiming it hurt businesses. the government says it will not back down from the new law. and when it comes to smoke, the hookah or waterpipes are a common site throughout much the a ab world. the pipes filter tobacco smoke through a beautiful water. but as we hear from our world partner. health officials worried about spread of swine flu are offering smokers of what they say is a healthier choice. "worldfocus" producer, translated the latest news from the front lines of the hookah smoking world in jordan. >> reporter: effort's being made to help prevent the spread of contagious diseases are crashing head-on with the help of hookah smokers here in amman jordan, but their rival which is known as disposable healthy hose is ushering in a new era of hookah smoking.
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>> translator: there are contagious diseases like influenza and the common cold. as this hose, you use it once and then throw it or away or you can take it with you. nobody else uses it. >> translator: no one else breeds into it but its owner. it's free of germs.>> reporter: convinced the new, so-called healthy hose will mean good health for its users. >> translator: changing the hose by itself is useless because what's in the hose will get in the waterpipe. germs or viruses could survive in it for two to four hours. >> reporter: while this debate about hookah smoking wage, the health department is trying to convince people to change other habits to encourage a healthier lifestyle. they are recommendingta people stop smoking, that they use disposable cups, and to be careful about hugging and kissing. al ara biia, amman. >> and that's al arabyia's take
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to get swine flu at bay and that's also "worldfocus" for a tuesday night. you can get updates on all of our global news on our website that's and also love to hear from you, so drops a line. i'm martin savidge in new york. thanks very much for joining us. we'll look for you back here tomorrow and anytime on the web. until then have a great night. "worldfocus" was made possible in part by the follow funders -- "worldfocus" was made possible in part by the follow -- captions by vitac --
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PBS August 18, 2009 5:00pm-5:30pm EDT

News/Business. Martin Savidge. (2009) (CC) (Stereo)

TOPIC FREQUENCY Taliban 10, U.s. 9, Afghanistan 7, Iraq 7, Us 6, Kabul 4, United States 4, New York 3, Amman 3, Israel 3, Africa 2, Martin Savidge 2, Sally Sara 2, Britain 2, China 2, Washington 2, Russia 2, Kenya 2, Kandahar City 2, Shiron Peres 1
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